Rasch Announces Intentions

Pipestone Flyer

            Thorsby Mayor Barry Rasch is announcing his intentions to run as a candidate for the upcoming mayoral election—the first mayoral election in many years. “I believe I have the spirit, the energy and the drive to take Thorsby into the next four years.”  Rasch has served three 3-year terms on council with one term as mayor.

        “If successful running for mayor, there are some key areas I want to focus on (and certainly Council will have their own views): 

     Solid Planning: "I'd like to see 3, 5, and 10-year plans.  There are always things that come up and Council has done a lot with the Strategic Plan, the Parks and Rec Master Plan; but, where we really need to focus for planning purposes is on roads and infrastructure.  People want to know a timeline of when their roads will be repaved or road work done and infrastructure upgrades made. So we have to continue strategizing and preparing a solid plan. Not easy to do when things come at us that are unbudgeted–it could potentially throw off the plan.

        "We've worked diligently on securing quality, good tasting water with our new water treatment plant. So that is, in essence, completed. But the infrastructure still needs to be reviewed. We still need to know where the areas of risk are. And certainly the infrastructure needs to be improved upon if those areas are at risk and then, and only then, should we do the road works. 

Departmental Planning: I really want to press hard for departmental planning so that staff have a very clear direction to work towards and that we are always working together as a team. I’d specifically focus on the Public Works Department because they deal with infrastructure; and our Administration. They will have to identify areas, and we will have to find the money and then prioritize.  Keeping solid relationships with staff and administration is essential; but without solid planning there is no solid direction going forward. Whether a resident or business, we all deserve to know where we're going. 

Promote environment: “My personal style is to get physically involved in a project. I like to physically get out and do the work associated with the project. That's what I believe makes a community…what makes a councillor what they are.  Councillors would have a much better idea of what the Village needs when they work ‘hands-on’ on a project—and not just verbalize.”

Can you share examples of your hands-on approach?  

        “Yes, I’ve researched and applied for grants: two recycling bin grants that were $15,000 each.  Those bins are placed all throughout the community.  Also, the Fortis Alberta Community Naturalization grant for $3,000.  And other grants and nominations that were not successful.

            “I also believe in doing work with Communities in Bloom program as Chair and I work with all the planning aspects, the budgeting, and a significant amount of organizing. I physically get out there to work on improvements that need to be done. 

            For example, planting the trees for grounds enhancement at the Arctic Spas Rec Centre with no costs associated to the municipality or the ratepayers of Thorsby. 

        “Recently, another dedicated community member, Glen Taylor, and I put up a message board at the Lions' Campground.  I believe big things matter, but so do the little ones and it's important not to lose site of the little things because they can be just as important and may be noticed more.”

    Revitalizing Main Street is “another focus area in order to encourage people to set up shop and to shop at and to have a main street to be proud of. The challenges of larger communities with big box stores are significant. How do you maintain your retail shops when so many want to travel to the big box stores, or want instant access to options when we are restricted on what we can provide as far as hours of operation and product availability? It takes a community buy-in. It won’t be a simple fix.”

    “I certainly see us getting a higher residential base because people love the community and want to raise their families here. The demographics is this is a young community and will remain so.  I see the Village is slowly attracting more business options.  I see we are becoming a service community (with essential services like plumbing or heating or culverts that need replacing or machining that needs to be done for the farmers, and other commercial businesses) not necessarily retail options. There is a lot of interest to set up commercial businesses. What does that mean?

    “How do we keep our kids here? Some are taking courses in Leduc because of lack of options here. Why is that happening? When kids leave, eventually the parents leave.  We have to continue putting pressure on Black Gold [School District] to offer the programs to keep the families here. I’m not going to accept ‘you have a rural community with a small population…you don’t get those options.’ That’s not an okay answer and I will be knocking on their door demanding better.

        It takes community working together—if the schools and businesses and Administration and Council are working with Council, we are unstoppable whichever direction we go. The key is working through our challenges with great communication and a great plan.

        “This year, I’ve pushed ‘let’s be proud of where we come from.’ Let’s fly the colors! If that means shirts with our logo on them…getting our name out there, that’s huge!  I’m passionate about our community. I work hard for Thorsby because I’ve always believed in what I’m working for and I’ve always believed in what the community stands for. We are not there to second guess, but to work as a cohesive group. I am easy to work with and passionate about what I do.  If you can feel good about the person who represents you, you gain trust. And I think I’ve done that. People have seen what I’m about and believe in what I’m trying to do as a community leader. I work hard to identify and address issues in a timely manner.

        “We are looking at ways to improve processes in our office. We are doing some internal reviews of some policies and procedures to see if there are efficiencies that can be found and better practices to get the best bang for our buck. Two things we are working on are: first, amending the process of Town Manager selection. Second, because everyone wants information at their fingertips, we want to find ways to deliver that in the expected timely manner.”

 

But there are Challenges:

            Rasch said he believes he has a good strategy in place to address the challenges of balancing the office of mayor, his family and his work. 

        Rasch enjoys working with people. Bringing together people with differing plans, priorities and agendas is what he likes to do. “Having four other opinions on council is a challenge; but having five united voices with one plan going forward is a success.  It remains a goal I hold close. That’s a win!”

            “I know the issues and am working on prioritizing them.  Here they are: get a solid 5- and 10-year plan—currently, plans are not specific enough; proper infrastructure work; building key relationships where maybe none exist (i.e., businesses—difficult to access because they are so busy and they are not always heard enough); continue to work on trail and park development; continue to work on creating good relationships with neighboring communities; look at more marketing strategies that will enable Thorsby to grow and attract opportunity; look at revenue generating opportunities outside of taxation; continue to enhance the community visually; downtown revitalization needs a solid plan moving forward; businesses and residents need to feel their dollars are stretched to the maximum benefit; infrastructure replacement and road rehabilitation; continue to promote our recreational facility by maximizing its usage; get another subdivision started up as we are nearing our maximum residential lots capacity.”

            Rasch believes in a holistic approach. “I’m not a one- or two-issue candidate. I will deal with all the issues in a fair manner and everybody will always have a chance to say what they want to say with me.  We have various groups working hard in the community and they expect to have good leadership and unity in strong planning or events. I will bring that to the table. Strength comes in unity.” 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read